Just a quick hit, then back to work…I’m finishing a short story for Baen’s website in advance of Frozen Orbit’s release, the deadline for which coincides with an audit trip I have to take right after Thanksgiving. So yeah, lots going on at Chiles Manor South…
Last weekend I went to my first high-power rocket launch since moving to Tennessee and had a blast with the Music City Missile Club (pun intended). It was a bit chilly with clear blue skies, not like the teeth-rattling cold and gray overcast that too often defined our launch days with Tripoli Mid-Ohio.
Out of four attempts, I had two successful flights and two which were less-than-successful but no less spectacular (i.e. they blew up).
A resourceful filmmaker named Christian Stangl has animated thousands of NASA photos into a gorgeous video tribute to Apollo, well worth 7.3 minutes of your time:
UPDATE! Almost forgot this compelling short by Andrew Finch. It’s amazing when you see what his team accomplished on what must have been a shoestring budget – even using actual SFX models with the CGI:
Overnight, Elon Musk finally presented the long-awaited update to his Mars plans from the IAC annual conference in Australia (thus the overnight thing).
Last year’s big reveal was grandiose but left a lot of questions as to how they planned to pay for it. This year’s version looks more realistic considering the work they’ve already done, but it still seems like they’d need to pursue an intermediate step. Something like Dragon V.3, maybe replacing the trunk with a beefed-up extended duration module – or a landing stage. I keep thinking of the old Estes Mars Lander:
Speaking for moi, I was polishing my resume surprised to see him offer point-to-point suborbital passenger service on the BFR. I’ve read about that somewhere, no doubt from some hack writer…
Nothing else really original from me so maybe the rest is just clickbait, but it’s good clickbait:
This project has been fascinating to watch. While the rest of us spent Labor Day weekend kicking back and grilling brats, these guys were riding the Andes’ mountain wave to 52,000 feet and a new world record.
In a glider. Worth noting that the previous record holder is Perlan I, which now resides in Seattle’s superlative Museum of Flight.
And they’re not done yet. 52K is only a little more than halfway to their real goal: 90,000′. They’re hoping to scrape 100,000′.
Good interview with Boom Aerospace CEO Blake Scholl at RealClearFuture:
Ultimately, we would like the ability to go anywhere in the world in five hours for a hundred bucks.
Yeah, and monkeys might fly out of my butt. But then I read this:
That’s the long-term mission. That’s our equivalent of going to Mars.
Okay then. I’m guessing he’s counting on Jet-A prices remaining stable. If I sound cynical, well it doesn’t take much time in the aviation business to become hopelessly so. Having said that, I really hope they can pull this off.
Between writing and the day job, music is an avocation which I never seem to have enough time for. I play with a group of guys who are just in the “having fun” stage for now, but occasionally we turn out something that actually sounds really good. Here’s my modest guitar collection, mostly acquired with book royalties (not bragging, just offering as motivation):
I’ve been a Les Paul guy since college, but recently discovered the joys of a souped-up Telecaster with a lightning-fast neck. So of course I had to get two.
I’ll have to sell a lot more books to even make a dent in this place, however:
I must admit to a little bit of hero-worship for this guy: he made his fortune by giving people what they want via Amazon, and is using that fortune to build what he really wants. Not to mention that Kindle Direct almost single-handedly enabled my burgeoning writing career (as did Elon Musk to a barely lesser degree, who initially financed SpaceX with the money he made from selling PayPal). To have these two in competition is going to do more for our expansion into the solar system than anything since Apollo (which sadly didn’t do much in the long term). And I do kind of prefer Blue’s “open ended” approach to SpaceX’s “Occupy Mars” guiding philosophy – that is, we’ll build the vehicles. Someone else can buy them and send them wherever they want.
Ignoring Popular Science’s childish penis-envy headline, Mr. Bezos is engaging in a bit of a blocking play: SpaceX has been touting the Big Reveal of their Mars vehicle architecture later this month. That’s twice now where Bezos has stolen his thunder, so it’ll be telling to see Musk’s response as he wasn’t especially gracious about New Shepard’s first landing.
And this may just be the beginning. When Ars visited with Bezos earlier this year, the Amazon.com founder said, “Our first orbital vehicle will not be our last, and it will be the smallest orbital vehicle we will ever build.” Indeed, in his e-mail sent Monday, Bezos teased just this, writing “New Glenn is a very important step. It won’t be the last of course. Up next on our drawing board: New Armstrong. But that’s a story for the future.”